Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tolkien studied

A major project has been turned in.

After six years of writing "The Year's Work in Tolkien Studies" by myself and two more years of sharing it with a collaborator, I became co-editor of the Tolkien Studies journal that published it, and turned the job over to the collaborator entirely. But it seems to be too big a job for one person to do, unless that one person is me (I wrote the 12,000 word first installment in three weeks, though admittedly I was not employed when I did it, which made a big difference).

So this year we split it up among, it turned out, six people (including myself). I had to coordinate and coax along all these contributors, and in most cases supply them with much of the material they'd be writing on. The deadline was a week ago, the contributions all came in, some of them still needing substantive as well as format editing. I dumped them all into one file, forced them into the same font and layout, and then did all that editing work and turned in the final version this morning. Whew.

My own part, the smallest of the six (which I took because there wasn't anybody else both available and appropriate to do it), included coverage of three book-length studies of The Hobbit, a small work to bear all that weight. Two of those books I'd read already, but thought I should re-read, so I took them with me to Louisiana and, amazingly, got them both read. The third I didn't want to read, because I could tell how superficial it was going to be. But I forced myself into it, and had an entertaining time dissecting it, classifying its various contributions by the different ways they avoided the topic.

Writing is painful, but 'tis glorious to have written.

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